Scan Magazine, Issue 97, February 2017

Page 34

Photo: Carolina Romare

Swedish craft beer is gaining ground The global craft beer trend is booming in Sweden, with a wide range of new micro breweries, exciting events and innovative flavours for the growing number of thirsty beer lovers – not to mention the many opportunities to learn how to make those malty and hoppy brews. Text & photos: Malin Norman

According to the Swedish Brewers Association, there is a boom of new craft breweries. Back in the ‘90s, despite the country’s long tradition in brewing, there were only as few as 20 breweries. This has now exploded to more than 250 breweries and a constant stream of new ventures kicking off. One of the first new-wave microbreweries to take off was Oppigårds, started in 2004 by Björn Falkeström outside the town of Hedemora in Dalarna County. Falkeström highlights the impact of the new trend. “The increase in the number of breweries is positive for the beer industry,” he says. “And it’s not so much about size, but more about attitude. Smaller breweries can often try different 34  |  Issue 97  |  February 2017

methods and develop new flavours. The microbreweries are in fact building a new beer culture.” Self-proclaimed craft beer connoisseur, hopaholic and beer blogger Fredrik ‘Hopmaestro’ Järnberg is also a strong supporter of the trend. “We have many great breweries and new ones are popping up all the time,” he says. With more than 11,000 followers on Instagram, Järnberg has a big audience for his daily beer reviews and arty snapshots, but also keeps up with consumer trends. Most popular are still the US-influenced IPAs and pale ales, but Belgian sour beers and Berliner Weisse are growing fast, and beer enthusiasts will not shy away from challenging their palate. “Swedish beer

drinkers tend to be curious and want to test new styles.”

Trio in beer festivals Beer lovers have the ultimate opportunity to sample beers of all kinds at a range of events. With around 37,000 visitors per year, Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival is the world’s third-biggest beer festival and an all-time classic. A long list of breweries and industry experts from Sweden and abroad attend, and visitors have the chance to take part in master classes and tasting sessions with some of the best breweries around. Another gem is SMÖF (Söderbärke Mikro ÖlFestival), claimed to be the coolest beer festival in Sweden. It takes place during one weekend in the small village of Söderbärke in Dalarna, with live blogging and even brewing on-site for the 3,000 visitors. Brewer Sven Eklund of Villovägens Bryggeri in Falun explains the importance of these types of consumer events: “This is a great opportunity for us

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